Some Coillte forests see visitor numbers triple since coronavirus

Some Coillte Forests See Visitor Numbers Triple Since Coronavirus
Some forests tripled their visitor numbers during the pandemic
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Footfall to Coillte-owned forests increased by nearly 40 per cent during the pandemic as people embraced the outdoors amid lockdowns and public health restrictions.

Some 2.2 million people visited Coillte’s top 50 forests between March and December 2020, a rise of 38 per cent on the same period the year before.


New data shows some forests tripled their visitor numbers during the pandemic. The Coillte report compares figures from February 2020 with December 2020 to show the swell in visitors since coronavirus restrictions came into force.

The Dublin mountains area, which includes Ticknock forest, continues to be the most popular of Coillte’s recreational sites, doubling its footfall to more than 60,800 in December. There were just over 30,000 visitors to the area during February 2020.

With 14,300 visitors during December, Donadea Forest Park in Co Kildare also tripled its pre-pandemic footfall. The park welcomed 4,800 visitors in February just before Covid-19 arrived.


The Curragh Chase in Co Limerick also saw a tripling of its numbers, with nearly 6,800 December visits, up from 2,300 in February.

Rossmore Forest Park in Co Monaghan more than doubled its numbers, welcoming an extra 14,300 visitors in December 2020.

Coillte chief executive Imelda Hurley said the organisation was “delighted so many people are using their local forests during this difficult and prolonged Covid lockdown”.

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She said it was “particularly important right now” to make use of the country’s many forests as it was widely agreed that fresh air and green spaces could enhance a person’s mood, happiness and overall health.

“We are glad people’s local forests are a healthy and positive outlet for them,” she said, adding that people should remember to adhere to Covid-19 restrictions when visiting.

The commercial forestry company, which is owned by the State, manages 260 recreational forests and has about 6,000 forest properties nationwide, each of which are open to the public.

Almost 80 per cent of Coillte’s forests are working forests, producing the wood most commonly used in Irish homes.

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